It can be very frustrating and unpleasant when your cat starts urinating in places that they shouldn’t do – particularly if it’s on your bed! This article explores some of the possible causes of this and what can be done to help the situation.
Why might my cat pee on my bed?
There are many reasons why your cat may have started urinating in strange places around the house including –
- Stress – Cats can be very easily stressed which can lead to inappropriate urination or even feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), otherwise known as idiopathic cystitis. The exact reason for this disorder is unknown, but cats that are overweight and predominantly indoors are at higher risk of developing it, as are cats that are stressed.
- Inappropriate litter tray – Some cats won’t use a tray in a busy location, if it’s the wrong size/shape or if it is shared with multiple other cats in the house
- Urinary crystals or stones – Some cats can develop crystals in their urine which can progress to stones (uroliths). The irritation that these cause can make cats want to urinate more often and in strange places.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – urinary tract infections are uncommon in cats but is still a possible cause of cystitis (inflammation of the urinary tract) or inappropriate urination
- Kidney disease – Cats with poorly functioning kidneys often drink more than normal and therefore urinate more than normal too, which could lead to urine accidents
- Diabetes – This condition causes an increase in thirst which could lead to more urination, plus the abnormal level of sugar in the urine makes it more likely for a cat to get a urinary tract infection
What might my vet do?
Your vet usually tries to first rule out possible underlying health reasons for your cat’s behaviour. They will perform a physical exam to look for any abnormalities, checking their hydration status, their weight and listening to their heart. They will also feel their abdomen and bladder. Depending on their findings they may suggest a blood sample to look at your cat’s organ function. A routine biochemistry and haematology test will look at things like kidney and liver function, blood sugar levels and signs of infection and inflammation.
A urine sample will also be very helpful. This can either be a ‘free catch sample’, usually obtained by putting non-absorbable cat litter in a clean litter tray and then collecting the urine after your cat has been. Alternatively, the sample can be taken by the vet via cystocentesis. They will insert a fine needle through the abdominal wall into the bladder to draw off a sterile sample.
The urine can be analysed to check how concentrated it is. Your vet can also look for signs of blood or proteins, which could indicate an abnormality. Additional tests can be performed to look for crystals under a microscope and culture the sample for bacterial growth.
If your vet has diagnosed an underlying health complaint then they will be able to advise your further on the next steps. It could be that antibiotics or a change in diet are required. Sometimes further tests may be needed such as ultrasound or X-rays before a full diagnosis is reached.
If these tests come back as negative, then it may be that your cat has a behavioural or stress issue.
What should I do to stop my cat from peeing on my bed?
If your vet has ruled out underlying health problems, you should consider what might have changed. Anxiety can be triggered by a range of environmental changes. Examples of common stressors include –
- New pets in the household
- A new baby or new family member moving into the house
- A house move
- Fireworks or building works
- A new cat on their territory outside
Sometimes the cause of the stress isn’t obvious. Some cats can become stressed by the owner moving furniture around or hanging a new pair of curtains up!
Manage the stress!
Calming pheromones can be quite useful for cats that are stressed. They’re particularly useful when you are unable to remove the source of that stress. These come in the form of plug-in diffusers or sprays that you can spritz on bedding and collars.
For cat’s that are prone to bouts of cystitis, you can talk to your vet about supplements aimed at promoting a healthy bladder lining, or even a change in diet. Ensuring your cat has plenty of fluids is essential, so don’t limit water intake, you should be encouraging drinking to help keep the urinary tract flushed through.
Other steps you can take include providing multiple litter trays and food bowls in different locations if you have a multi-cat household. This avoids cats having to cross paths or compete for resources if they don’t get along. Make sure litter trays are in quiet locations in the house so that your cat is unlikely to be disturbed when urinating.
If your cat is elderly, try a low sided litter tray so that they can climb in and out more easily. A larger litter tray gives your pet more space to toilet as well. Sometimes the type of litter can be putting a cat off, so try a different brand and make sure the tray is regularly cleaned as some cats don’t like using a tray that has already been soiled.
If your cat has access outdoors consider installing a cat flap that reads microchips to stop any unwanted neighbour cats from entering the property and causing extra stress.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you to improve your cat’s environment but ensure you take your cat to the vet for a check up as well. It Is important not to miss anything else that might be going on. A cat that is urinating in unusual places can be quite frustrating, but a bit of detective work and taking some simple measures regarding the litter tray should help you to improve the situation!
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